Rena's vision for a better future
Healthcare that works for All
I have been a long time supporter of a single payer healthcare system because I firmly believe that health insurance is a right, not a privilege. People are simply paying too much for health insurance coverage, that is why I am a co-author on legislation that would allow more Minnesotans to access affordable and high-quality healthcare through MinnesotaCare, one of Minnesota’s public health care programs. Minnesota can and should lead the nation on this issue. I will also continue to support community health centers as an affordable option to low-income communities. I know personally, that these facilities are a critical resource for underserved demographics because my family and I relied on them when we first got to Minnesota.
Eliminating Racial Disparities
Communities of color in Minnesota are facing a crisis. Minnesotans of color are more likely to live in poverty, be involved in the child protection system, be incarcerated, experience unemployment, less likely to graduate from high school, to own their own home, and to suffer from unequal healthcare outcomes and access to care. That is unacceptable. I am advocating for culturally appropriate and specific responses to these problems. One area I have been focusing on is addressing the massive disparities of African American children within the Child Protection Services. That is why I introduced the African American Family Preservation Act. You can learn more about that bill here .
We know that financial investments in these communities are a good place to start, but we need to tackle the root of these problems if we want to make a real difference. I have and will continue to support and partner with local non-profit organizations, experts, local businesses, and community members that work to address all of these issues: housing, employment, healthcare, financial literacy, etc.
Criminal Justice Reform
I am a strong supporter of making systematic changes that aim to reduce the over-representation of minority communities within the criminal justice system. Now is the time to take a critical look at the legal threshold for the use of deadly force by law enforcement. Too many black men are dying and we need to ensure that firing a weapon is the last resort. I have and will always support restoring voting rights for those who have served their time on a felony conviction. I also believe it is time we legalize recreational marijuana and provide clemency to individuals convicted of nonviolent marijuana-related offenses. We aren’t doing enough as a society to support individuals who have made mistakes and are trying to make amends. I remain committed to working on all of these issues and will continue to speak out on them as your representative.
I’ll never forget being homeless and I’ll never accept that homelessness is just a part of the world we live in. I know that housing is critical for outcomes in employment, education, and health. Too many of our neighbors are experiencing homelessness, that is why I have and will always fight for strong investments in affordable housing and homeless shelters. I have been proud to support the Homes for All coalition while serving in the legislature and am grateful for the funding we have secured, but we still have a long way to go before we eliminate homelessness and I remain committed to that fight.
Strong Public Education
I am a firm believer that education is the foundation for future success. It is the one thing in life that cannot be taken away from you and equips you with the tools you need to succeed later in life. A strong public education system is one of the main reasons I moved myself and my kids to Minnesota and it has always been something I have fought hard for while serving in the legislature. While we have a great education system, Minnesota has one of the worst achievement gaps amongst all states in our nation. Funding all day kindergarten was one of my proudest accomplishments at the Capitol because I know how important early childhood education is to closing that gap. I will continue to fight for stronger investments to close that gap through strategic investments in things like universal pre-K, headstart, and wrap around community service schools like the Promise Neighborhood in Saint Paul.
Living Wage Jobs with Benefits
Too many people in our district live in poverty. As someone who knows firsthand, no one would choose welfare over a good paying job. I have and will continue fighting for laws that would allow people to support themselves and their families with dignity. We can achieve that goal with initiatives like a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave and paid sick and safe time for all families.